By Mark Viviano

BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Baltimore has a proud basketball history and Juan Dixon is a big part of the city’s legacy.

Once a great player at Maryland, he is now a rookie coach.

There 350 schools in division I college basketball. Coppin State ranks near the bottom. Only one win in their 18 games this season.

Head coach Juan Dixon sees his program on the way up. Dixon was a high school star at Calvert Hall. He led Maryland to a national title and played in the NBA. Now, he’s back in Baltimore as a rookie coach.

He took a tough job. Trying to build a program where the budget and the expectations are much lower than the big-time schools. Coppin plays those big schools. All road games. When the Eagles finally won their first game earlier this week, a conference game at home, it mark the payoff for all the hard uphill work so far.

“So we just got to remain confident as a ball club. Knowing we can do something really special this year. It’s going to take a practice at a time–a game at a time,” Dixon said. “By March we want to be peaking–playing our best basketball.”

“Coach has definitely played a big part in that. You know, instilling confidence in us and telling us, you know, we’re going to get better,” said Coppin State forward Lamar Morgan. “We knew the road was not going to be easy to start with. We understood that. We knew we had to build. In each game we seem to get better and better. We knew our time would come.”

Coppin will play Saturday on the road at North Carolina Central.

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